Podcast 126: Bridging The Sales & Marketing Divide with Dialpad

This week we’re bringing you a 2 for 1.

This week we’re bringing you a 2 for 1. Dan O’Connell and Keith Messick from Dialpad join us representing sales and marketing respectively. We talked through how they bridge the classic sales and marketing divide that’s been an issue for decades in B2B. These guys have some pretty interesting tactics and methods to help you hire people who are going to have that empathy which bridges the sales and marketing divide. This has been an issue for too long, so let’s get right into it.

In This Podcast You’ll Learn:

How Dialpad qualifies leads

Causes of the Sales & Marketing divide

How Dialpad bridges the Sales & Marketing divide

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How Dialpad qualifies leads

I’m curious on both of your perspectives on MQL versus SQL. This is such an old debate but I still haven’t found an answer to this that resonates with me and stays good.

Keith Messick: We have our own status which we call TQL – total qualified leads. Then the next step is sales accepted. The bar for TQL is actually pretty high. Trade shows do not make the TQL list. They get nurtured unless there was like a very specific communication like with a rep there and the rep claimed it.

The war for attribution is the least interesting fight and all of business. The only time I’ve ever seen people really give a sh*t about attribution is when things aren’t going well. Right? So it’s a pretty good, like when everybody’s above quota, no one’s like, where’d that lead come from?

I always think like, Hey, there’s something wrong and lead attribution probably isn’t it? So that’s a fixed action when you’re on the way up. No one gives a sh*t. We just did away with marketing qualified versus sales qualified. Everyone’s leads go into one bucket. That bucket has a pretty high bar.

Then the waterfall starts at sales accepted and then to opportunity. So one, it just simplifies reporting and then we handle exceptions. Like one of the things we do here is we report by lead source, we report by all those things. And if there’s some exception then we always handle it. We don’t really fight for those things.

John Barrows: Love it. So let’s say you get a lazy AE who takes a lead from the SDR. Maybe there is Need but not the right timing and they let the lead go. How are you making sure the blame doesn’t get dropped and it’s never reviewed again?

Dan O’Connell: Yeah. So we’re pretty diligent in how we track that on both sides. It can be easy to find the discrepancy as well. If you’re seeing the SDR set 10 qualified appointments and there’s a big difference in how we expect the conversion rates play out, you can see that pretty quick. Both sides are accountable.

Causes of the Sales & Marketing divide

John Barrows: To me, a lot of the issue could come down to lacking empathy on both sides. Lots of sales people don’t have arrogance, but there can be a feeling where anyone not selling isn’t doing as much as them, in a strange way. And on the other side, I’m not sure marketing has the full understanding of the routine and what sales can really be like.

Dan O’Connell: I think at times people will become quick adversaries. And that piece to me is always very interesting and there’s always this dynamic between sales and marketing leadership. That plays out pretty much all the way down the line. Keith and I happened to get along really well, I think we appreciate people’s perspectives. Running a start-up in a past life, like you have to think about marketing and sales.

And so I think we have a lot of overlapping experiences and that then bleeds down to the teams and they see, Oh, well Keith and Dan have a great partnership. So then we should be thinking about how to have a tighter partnership. So I do think it stems a little bit from the top of how does that leadership actually get along and interact. And I have worked at places where marketing and sales are adversaries at time and like, Hey, you’re part of the same team.

I think the other thing when you get into, when you get into the marketing is, the number one job for sales Outside of obviously generating revenue is how do we tell the same story? Yeah. That ultimately comes down to the marketers are experts at that and they should be the ones saying, Hey, here’s the best way to tell a story.

And in order to tell that story really effectively or well, then that means you got to know the customer. And so I think we really embrace everybody from our product and our engineering team to our CEO. Everyone’s gotta be immersed in deals. And if you’re not talking with customers to no surprise, you’re not going to market things well. You’re not going to build the right things. You’re not going to know how to sell things. So I think we do our best to try to make that a focus. And your inner Kirchner, a piece of strategy kind of across all of Dialpad.

How Dialpad bridges the Sales & Marketing divide

Keith Messick: I mean, listen, I think the best B2B CMOs have some sales experience. No, I’m obviously pretty biased with that. I like to hire a lot of marketers who have at least given it a shot. It could be BDR, could be inside rep didn’t love it, didn’t love the repetition of it, whatever it might be. But they know that it’s a hard job. So I think part of it is the marketers just don’t really fully understand that it’s a hard job. Right? And you start at zero every period, whether that’s monthly, quarterly, yearly, you know, your both expecting support from the organization and then the organization is also expecting you to feed yourself at times. So I think it’s just a hard job and I think marketing doesn’t really have a lot of empathy for how hard the job is.

John Barrows: I wanna dig into that a little bit. I actually think every role in the company should do some type of sales just for a period of time to see what it’s like to get their teeth kicked in. But how do you do that with, I mean, let’s face it, the vast majority of people that get into marketing are our marketing, right? So is there a way that something that you’ve done over at Dialpad to, to help marketing develop that empathy, to get them on the phones? Like what are some of the things you do?

Keith Messick: Yeah, so we definitely just had an all hands with my team and sort of re-emphasize that like if you’re trying to figure out what to do at any given moment and you don’t have a task, then hop on a sales call. Like it’s nice use of your time. You’ll never be like, well I’ve heard enough sales calls, right? With positioning, it helped. Like where are we winning, where are we losing? And I mean that if you’re a designer, if you’re in ABM, if you’re obviously in your demand product marketing, so it doesn’t really matter, it’s sort of position agnostic. So I think that’s one thing too is I think it’s just a matter of everyone on my team is either creating demand or fulfilling demand. That’s the way I structure it.

So I think part of it is just preaching that over and over and over again so that no one ever feels like, Hey, like I’m in marketing, I don’t have to care about that. The reality is if you’re not selling anything, then you’re not in marketing cause you don’t have a job.

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